Review: ‘A New Leaf’

Walter Matthau is both broad and satirically sensitive and Elaine May has gotten off some sharp and amusing dialog in her screenplay. It's sophisticated and funny, adroitly put together for the most part. May complained in a court action that final cuts were not hers and she would prefer not to have identity as the director.

Walter Matthau is both broad and satirically sensitive and Elaine May has gotten off some sharp and amusing dialog in her screenplay. It’s sophisticated and funny, adroitly put together for the most part. May complained in a court action that final cuts were not hers and she would prefer not to have identity as the director.

Matthau is the marriage-aloof middle-ager who’s running out of his inheritance because of high living and who has to come upon a rich wife to sustain himself. Rich wife turns out to be unglamorous May. The director and cosmetician have made May about as sexy as an Alsophiplia Grahamicus, which is a new leaf she has cultivated in her role as botanist. A new leaf is also something that Matthau turns over because after he weds May he decides, rather than kill her, to take care of her like the fine character he hadn’t been in the past.

William Redfield fits in as the exasperated lawyer who has difficulty in conveying to Matthau that one doesn’t drive a Ferrari and live in a luxurious town house when one is broke. James Coco is Uncle Harry, to whom Henry goes for a loan, which is provided on condition that Henry pay it back in six weeks or pay 10 times the principal.

A New Leaf

Production

Paramount. Director Elaine May; Producer Joe Manduke; Screenplay Elaine May; Camera Gayne Rescher; Editor Fredric Steinkamp, Donald Guidice; Art Director Richard Fried

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1971. Running time: 102 MIN.

With

Walter Matthau Elaine May Jack Weston George Rose William Redfield James Coco
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